for You & Your Hound
Carmen and I are both very environmentally conscious and we have always strongly believed in keeping Blas & Co as sustainable as possible.
This can be a difficult task, especially when a small business is just starting out, but we are always pushing ourselves to do better and we wanted to share some of the ways we are making that happen.
Our sustainability strategy currently centres around four main areas of the business. Let’s dig in and get to the details…
Using Sustainably Sourced & Certified Fabrics
The fabrics we use are at the core of our entire brand. Blas & Co has become known for its beautiful, unique designs that are well made using high quality and hard wearing fabrics.
From the very beginning, buying a half metre at a time, to when we started buying in bulk from multiple wholesalers, every fabric we purchased had to be of good quality and fit for purpose.
OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100
All of our fabrics across our entire range of products are certified as OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100. This standard can only be met if the manufacturing process of the material is known, and the fabric complies with a strict set of criteria that is globally standardised and independently tested.
While on its own this is not a stamp of sustainability, it means that the fabric has been tested for harmful substances and is certified as harmless for human health, which is essential in ensuring the quality of the fabric we get is extremely high.
There are further levels of OEKO-TEX® certification which specifically focus on the sustainability of fabrics, such as MADE IN GREEN, and STeP, which we try and source where possible. These are much harder for a small business of our size to come by, but we always try to go the extra mile if we can.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
When we are planning new designs and sourcing new fabrics we always try to ensure that they adhere to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
GOTS is a worldwide textile processing standard for organic fibres, including enforcing ecological and social criteria, and is backed up by independent third-party certification of the whole supply chain.
Which means it not only ensures that the source materials are organic and safe, but that they are sourced and made in an ethical way that protects the workers in every step of the supply chain.
Sourcing GOTS fabrics is very important for us at Blas & Co, but it is not always possible. Some of the fabric designs that we fall in love with are not fully organic, or they are prohibitively expensive, but we try our hardest to always choose GOTS fabrics first.
Beautiful examples of the fully organic products we offer can be found in our Organic Greyhound Jumper and Organic Greyhound and Whippet T-shirt sections, as well as all the products in our popular Everyday Range.
All of our products on the website will clearly state the materials they are made of in the product description, and you can also find a full list of our fully organic items by selecting the ‘Organic’ product list filter.
We are proud of the progress we are making in this area, and most of the designs in our product launches contain at least one organic fabric, but there is more we can do here and this is one of the key areas in our future improvement plan.
100% Recyclable, Compostable & Eco-friendly Packaging
Recycling at home is getting increasingly important as online shopping is becoming easier, and cheaper, for both businesses and customers.
As you might imagine, we are quite big recyclers in the Blas & Co household, and the amount of single use plastic packaging still being used in delivery packaging can get a little bit frustrating.
We are determined not to be part of the problem, so every single part of the packaging you get from Blas & Co is 100% ready for recycling and can be put straight into your cardboard recycling bin ready for collection!
Here is a breakdown of everything you will find in our packaging:
- Your garments are wrapped up in tissue paper to keep them nice and secure during transport
- We include a thank you card and some other marketing materials, printed on 100% recycled card.
- We pack your orders in various sizes of cardboard box depending on the space required. We don’t use a huge box for something small!
- We stamp the outside of the box with our logo using eco-friendly ink, and some stickers are attached that are printed on 100% recycled paper.
And that is it! A lot of our packaging is made from recycled materials, and all of it is fully recyclable.
We are looking into ways to source all of our packaging from 100% recycled materials in the future, and we will update you as soon as we can make that happen.
Fabric Waste Reduction & Recycling
Just as important as getting sustainable materials into the business, we need to ensure we don’t produce unnecessary waste at the other end.
Reusing Off-cuts & Scraps
By far the most impactful change we have made is to set aside the time needed to reuse and recycle off-cut materials.
During busy periods we collect bags and bags of scraps, which we then spend time sorting into various sizes when things calm down again.
When possible, the larger off-cuts from Greyhound Jumper and T-shirt bodies are reused in the chest and belly panels, medium sized pieces are turned into Snoods and Bandanas, and the smallest scraps are used to make matchy-matchy Hair Accessories.
What’s left after all of this are very small pieces that are just the right size to make fabric samples!
We use these at community events and also for our “For Your Next Purchase” cards, which get sent with every order, so you know what our fabrics actually feel like before you buy.
We are very proud of this process and how it is working, and so far it has enabled us to reduce our fabric waste to only the tiniest of pieces – although we haven’t actually thrown these away yet either… They are just waiting for the next big idea to come along!
‘One-off’ Flash Sales
When fabrics go out of season, or start running very low, we can sometimes end up with larger off-cuts that are not quite enough for a whole jumper or t-shirt.
In those cases we tend to save these pieces from the scrap piles and produce one-off garments using unusual combinations.
Then a few times a year we run “Flash Sales” on our Instagram account, allowing customers to get a very unique garment at a discounted price.
Follow us @blasandco.studio if you don’t want to miss out!
Thoughtful Energy Use in The Studio
Thinking about how we use energy in the studio not only allows us to decrease our burden on the power grid, but also saves us money in the long run.
The studio is located inside our family home so it can be hard to decouple our personal and business spaces, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do to ensure Blas & Co’s energy use is as low as possible.
When setting up the studio we choose a room in the house that has a south facing window and gets the full force of the sun most of the day. This allows us to reduce the energy required to heat the space on days where the sun is shining – which actually happens more than you’d think in England!
The Studio is also kept at a slightly lower temperature than the rest of the house. This not only provides a more comfortable active working environment, but also allows us to reduce our energy use even further.
Lastly, good lighting is essential in any workshop, and our studio is no exception. We outfitted the space with low power LED lighting throughout which provides a very comfortable working environment, but also uses a fraction of the energy an array of fluorescent strip lights or bulbs would in the same situation.
We would love to reduce our energy requirements even more and have had plenty of ideas on things we can do – so watch this space!
I hope this has helped you understand a bit of what goes on behind the scenes here at Blas & Co, and some of the ways in which we are trying to keep our growing business sustainable.
As always with these things there is always more that can be done, and we will continue to invest in the right places moving forwards to ensure we keep our impact to a minimum.
And, of course, we will always keep you in the loop as things progress.